​Healthy Tips and Strategies for Achieving New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by Reeve Staff in Life After Paralysis on January 11, 2021 # Lifestyle

By guest blogger Lauren Presutti

We are a few weeks into January 2021… how are your New Year’s resolutions going? Are you still riding the wave of motivation that came with the fresh start to 2021? Or has it been a slow process? What are you noticing about your energy and ability to maintain consistency? Perhaps one of the most important questions that you can ask yourself is, what are your natural strengths that may be useful in goal attainment?Resolution list

If you live with paralysis, some of your natural strengths might be an adaptation, perseverance, and problem-solving. Using a wheelchair has likely taught you how to navigate uncertainty and overcome barriers. You may have learned how to maintain a flexible mindset when you have faced inaccessibility in the community. You may have learned communication skills when you have managed your health appointments. Or you may have superior distress-tolerance skills because of your experiences successfully coping with day-to-day frustrations. No matter what your natural strengths are, consider how these may be useful in the achievement of your goals

In addition to using natural strengths, starting with the right mindset can be helpful in reaching success. If we tell ourselves, “I am not good enough or smart enough or prepared enough to achieve my goals,” our thoughts will create our reality and our mindset will hold us back from success. It’s important to identify any negative self-talk and challenge those negative thoughts to become more positive. It sounds cliché but telling yourself “I can do this” or “I got this” really works.

Further, when it comes to achieving New Year’s resolutions, maintaining accountability can make a huge difference. The word “accountability” can have a negative connotation, sometimes implying blame or judgment. However, when seen as a way of tracking success, accountability can create a sense of ownership and pride. For many people, it’s important to feel accountable to someone other than yourself, so don’t be afraid to share your goals with the people closest to you. It might also be helpful to ask yourself, “What helps me feel more accountable? What needs to happen for me to stay on track?”

It can also be helpful to keep your goals in sight. For many of us, it can be easy to forget about our goals or accidentally prioritize the wrong things because we are just trying to get through day-to-day life. This may be especially true for those in the paralysis community facing environmental challenges, like home accessibility or problems with caregiving. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in managing our day-to-day life that we forget about the goals we have set for ourselves. To avoid this, you might consider writing down your goals on a sticky note to put on your bedroom mirror or kitchen table. Or you may decide to create a “vision board” – a visual representation of your goals. Using technology, you can also make an electronic collage of photos representing your goals and use it as your phone or computer wallpaper. Get creative! Think about how else you may keep your goals in sight.

Along with keeping our goals in sight, it’s critical to track progress on a regular basis. We can do this with a goal tracking worksheet (there are many free printable worksheets online), journaling, discussing progress with people in our lives, or a method of your own. The key is to regularly check-in on your progress and take note of where you are and where you need to go before your next check-in.

Finally, we can’t expect ourselves to work steadily toward a goal without any type of reward along the way. Not only does this drain our energy and make us feel deprived of fulfillment through the journey, but it can also diminish our motivation, it can lead to limiting beliefs about our success, and it can skew our perceptions of what we are capable of. We have to recognize the small moments of progress every step of the way. Celebrating our ability to cross things off our list – no matter how big or small – will help build our confidence and commitment, making it easier for us to keep pushing to reach those large-scale future goals.

To learn about River Oaks Psychology, visit www.riveroakspsychology.com and follow River Oaks Psychology on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

This project was supported, in part, by grant number 90PRRC0002, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.